Friday, April 4, 2014

Pennsylvania Presbyterians and the American Revolution at Geneva College

Last night I had a great time giving a public lecture at Geneva College on some of my work related to Presbyterians and the American Revolution.  I am guessing that about fifty or so students and faculty came out to John White Chapel on the Geneva campus to learn more about the relationship between Presbyterians, the Paxton Boys, and the American Revolution.  Thanks to Geneva College history professor Greg Jones for inviting me, introducing me, and organizing the lecture.  He has been a great host.

I spoke about the way in which Pennsylvania Presbyterians used the tragic events of the Conestoga Massacre to gain political power in the Pennsylvania assembly and eventually lead the colony into the American Revolution.  Since Geneva College is a Presbyterian college (Reformed Presbyterian) I got some great excellent questions from the audience, some of which I have never fielded before.  The questions surrounded the relationship between Presbyterian post-millennial theology and Enlightenment progress, the connections between the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Presbyterian involvement in the Revolution, and the role that the legacy of the English Civil War played in the so-called "Presbyterian Rebellion."  One of the questions was asked by the president of Geneva College.  College presidents rarely show up for my lectures!

I came away from the lecture convinced that I need to talk more with Presbyterian church historians and historical theologians about this project.

Today I will be teaching Greg Jones's class on Colonial America and Historical Thinking.  It should be fun.